Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Oct. 20, 2021

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Chiles shines, virus surge sad

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To Jordan Chiles. Vancouver’s own Olympic silver medalist has been honored with a downtown parade and the Key to the City. Chiles, a graduate of Prairie High School, helped the United States win a silver medal last month in Tokyo in the women’s gymnastics team competition — one of the marquee events of the Games.

That warranted a fete that drew hundreds of admirers. “I wasn’t expecting this many people on a Sunday to be here,” the 20-year-old said. “It makes me realize how much everybody truly supports me. I just appreciate that so much.” Up next is a six-week national performance tour with her Olympic teammates, and then a return to school at UCLA. Beyond that? Well, the next Summer Games are only three years away. “We’ll see,” Chiles said. “2024 is definitely something I have thought of.”

Jeers: To COVID-19 rates. Like the rest of the country, Clark County is seeing a spike in coronavirus infections. This week’s report from Clark County Public Health revealed 1,175 confirmed new cases and 159 probable cases. Over 14 days, there were 397.4 new cases per 100,000 residents — an increase of 38 percent from the previous week.

By comparison, Clark County’s infection rate was 50.1 per 100,000 population in late July. Since then, the surge has been attributed to the highly contagious delta variant, and data show that most infections are occurring in unvaccinated people. For people who have been vaccinated but still contract the virus, symptoms typically are less severe than for those who are unvaccinated.

Cheers: To feeding the hungry. Many local groups are involved with charitable work that strengthens our community, but members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may have outdone themselves. About 400 people gathered recently at the Clark County Food Bank and packed 45,000 jambalaya meal kits for distribution.

With help from aid organization U.S. Hunger, the food bank and a $15,000 grant from the church, volunteers got to partake in an event that had been put on hold throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The result is that many needy local families will have a meal thanks to a supportive community.

Jeers: To the end of chinook season. A bountiful fall chinook season has come to a premature end with the closing of the Buoy 10 fishery. Sept. 6 had been set as the closing date, but Washington and Oregon officials bumped that forward out of concerns about how many fish have been caught.

As The Columbian reported: “The news will definitely dampen what had been a festival atmosphere in the communities along the lower Columbia. Sport anglers were having the best year they have had in many years.” In the end, anglers and guides are victims of their own success, leading to the closure. We trust the science behind the decision, but it still is disappointing for anglers and those whose livelihoods depend on fishing.

Cheers: To jobs. Despite the lingering pandemic, there is some good news on the local economic front. Clark County’s unemployment rate in July was about 4.6 percent, a big improvement from the 12 percent of the previous July.

“We have come faster than was previously anticipated,” said Scott Bailey, regional economist for Southwest Washington. “I think the stimulus has really helped with that. Unemployment has come down quite a bit, and claims have come down quite a bit. Job growth has been pretty robust.” Seasonally adjusted, the county gained about 500 jobs in July, providing a welcome respite from depressing COVID news.

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